UW–Madison Libraries Services during COVID–19

COVID–19 Library Dashboard
Learn more about updates to library services

Unattended Personal Belongings Policy

This policy is intended to inform patrons on how library staff handle unattended personal belongings.

Contents of unattended personal belongings could be dangerous to library staff or compromising to the owner. Library staff will notify police immediately when unattended personal items or packages are discovered and appear suspicious or threatening. Likewise, if contents of an item are discovered to be incriminating, library staff will contact the appropriate police department immediately.

Personal items which have been left unattended for an extended period or found while closing the library, and which are not initially considered suspicious or threatening, will be retrieved by library staff and brought to a staff area. Most items will be placed directly in a secure lost and found area by staff who routinely handle such items and will be retained according to the procedures in place at that location.

In cases when library staff judge non-suspicious or threatening unattended personal belongings to be of higher value – monetary, personal, or potentially important for study or work – they will be briefly investigated by designated library staff as time permits to attempt to determine who owns the item. If an owner is identified, library staff will attempt to contact the owner and ask them to pick up the item(s). Items will be placed in a secure lost and found area according to the procedures in place at that location, either until a owner picks up an item or when an item’s owner has not been identified.

Most items described above which have not been claimed within 30 days, will be donated. Items that are identified as of higher value, but who’s owner isn’t located or doesn’t respond when contacted, may be turned over to police within 30 days or according to the procedures in place at that location.

Created May 2019